For Immediate Release
September 16, 2010
Contact Information

Rica Orszag
Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr.
National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.


Students Represent Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, New York, Florida, and Connecticut

(BLACK PR WIRE) (Washington, D.C., September 16, 2010) – The leadership of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. announced today the names of nine student winners of its Kids For King Education Initiative during an event on the National Mall. This Initiative, a partnership with The Travelers Companies, Inc., inspired youth from grades 3-12 to write an essay, create a piece of art, or produce a short video about the lasting legacy of Dr. King and his ideals of democracy, justice, hope, and love.

Roland Martin, CNN Contributor, Will Jawando, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Brian W. MacLean, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Travelers Companies, Inc., participated in the event and helped announce the following nine honorees:

• Amanda Barry, Levittown, PA, Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary School,
• 4th grade, age 10, essay
• Riddley Duval, Asbury Park, NJ, Asbury Park High School, 9th grade, age 15, video
• Gerra Gistand, Houston, TX, MacGregor Elementary School, 5th grade, age 11, video
• Kaylah Haye, Brooklyn, NY, home schooled, 6th grade, age 12, video
• Francisco Haye, III, Brooklyn, NY, home schooled, 4th grade, age 10, art
• Courtney MacDonald, Levittown, PA, Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary School, 6th grade, age 12, essay
• Lorena Marketos, Osprey, FL, The GAP School, 8th grade, age 15, art
• Angie Miller, Sarasota, FL, The GAP School, 10th grade, age 16, art
• Amisha Sisodiya, Trumbull, CT, Trumbull High School, 11th grade, age 16, essay

"We are grateful to all of the students across the country who took the time to learn about the lasting contributions of Dr. King and I congratulate our nine honorees,” said Harry E. Johnson, President and CEO of the Memorial Foundation. “I also want to thank Travelers, which donated $1.25 million last year to help build the Memorial and to partner with us on this educational project. Our wish is that others will take the opportunity to become a part of history and make a donation of any amount so we will be on track to complete the Memorial next fall.”

Each of the nine youth received a trip to Washington, D.C., the chance to participate in a live press event on the National Mall, complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations, and meals for themselves and one parent or chaperone. The nine honorees also received a laptop computer provided by YRC Worldwide, Inc. and clothing provided by Tommy Hilfiger.

This program, one of many that correspond to educating citizens about the building of a major memorial honoring Dr. King on the National Mall, also contained a lesson plan for teachers and parents to educate the youth about Dr. King. Three lesson plans were developed for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

The Memorial Foundation mailed 18,233 Kids for King packets, and 7,248 electronic packets were downloaded via the Foundation’s website. The judging panel that selected the national honorees included: Gwen Ifill, Hill Harper, and Cornell “Nelly” Haynes.

The initiative was launched in August 2009 surrounding the 46th anniversary of the March on Washington, and the Foundation accepted entries through April 30, 2010. The initiative was announced by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Harry E. Johnson, Sr. during a live event on the National Mall.

In addition to fulfilling its $1 million pledge to financially support the construction of the Memorial, the NEA distributed the Kids for King curriculum to its members through online curriculum offering and other activities. The NEA has asked teachers to encourage their students to participate in the art, essay, and video contest, and to use the Kids for King packets in their classrooms as a means of educating this generation on the legacy and the promises of Dr. King. The PTA encouraged schools to use the Kids for King curriculum and engage students in learning about Dr. King through its web site, email newsletters and other communication activities. YRC Worldwide, Inc. promoted Kids for King on 40-foot long trailers that have been driven around the country since August 2009.

The Memorial Foundation has raised $107 million out of the needed $120 million to build the Memorial. Travelers joins the following major donors to the Memorial: General Motors, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, NBA/WNBA, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Walt Disney Company Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ford Motor Fund, Toyota, AARP, AFLAC, Boeing, Inc., BP America, Inc., CIGNA, Credit Unions of the United States, DuPont, ExxonMobil Foundation, Fannie Mae Corporation, FedEx Corporation, GE, Ann and Joel Horowitz Family Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Sheila C. Johnson-Newman, Lehman Brothers, George Lucas, MacFarlane Partners, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, McDonald’s Corporation, MetLife Foundation, National Association of Realtors (NAR), National Education Association (NEA), Nationwide Foundation, NFL Players Association, PepsiCo Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Pfizer Foundation, Prudential Financial, Inc., Shell Oil Company, State Farm Insurance, Verizon Foundation, Viacom, Wal-Mart and Morehouse College, among others.

About the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.
A Memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be built on the National Mall, situated adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Congress passed Joint Resolutions in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a Memorial honoring Dr. King to be built in Washington, D.C. The ceremonial groundbreaking took place on November 13, 2006, and the Memorial will be completed in 2011. McKissack & McKissack / Turner Construction Company/ Gilford Corporation / Tompkins Builders, Inc. Joint Venture will serve as the Design-Build Team. McKissack & McKissack is the oldest minority-owned architectural firm in the United States. For more information or to make a donation, please visit

Photo credit: Gediyon Kifle